From 1959 the Soviets introduced a number of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) into service, including the SS-4 ‘Sandal’, the SS-6 ‘Sapwood’ (R-7), the SS-7 ‘Saddler’ (R-16), the SS-8 ‘Sasin’ (R-9A), the SS-8 ‘Sasin’ (R-26), the SS-9 ‘Scarp’ (R-36), and the SS-16 ‘Sinner’ (RT-21), which was possibly never made fully operational. By 1990 all these early types of missiles had been retired from service.

Two rocket armies were formed in 1960. The 43rd Rocket Army and the 50th Rocket Army were formed from the previous 43rd and 50th Air Armies of the Long Range Aviation.

During a test of the R-16 ICBM on October 24, 1960, the test missile exploded on the pad, killing the first commander of the SRF, Chief Marshal of Artillery Mitrofan Ivanovich Nedelin. This disaster, the details of which were concealed for decades, became known as the Nedelin catastrophe. He was succeeded by Marshal of the Soviet Union Kirill Moskalenko, who in turn was succeeded quickly by Marshal Sergey Biryuzov. Under Marshal Вiryuzov the SRF deployed missiles to Cuba in 1962 as part of Operation Anadyr. 36 R-12 intermediate range ballistic missiles were sent to Cuba, initiating the Cuban Missile Crisis. 43rd Guards Missile Division of 43rd Rocket Army manned the missiles while in Cub

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